Gong Show Alumni (My Story)
Last Updated Saturday, October 04, 2008


Bad experience? Good experience? Share the story's of People who appeared on The Gong Show.





Competing on The Gong Show was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Chuck Barris is a great guy and treated the contestants well. It was exciting getting professional makeup, singing with a band, and being in front of an audience. (You've heard me sing..the only other place where I can sing without people getting mad is a crowded church!) When I went on the show I didn't yet realize I had no talent and really thought I had a shot at winning. Arte Johnson hurt my feelings when he gonged me. Barbara Feldon had a confused look on her face through out my act like she couldn't tell if I was really that bad or if it was an act. (It was my best I regret to say.) On the happy side...the parting gifts were generous, I had a great time, and my friends got to see me on TV. I like to bring it up at parties as a great ice breaker. Later I went on two other Chuck Barris Shows.. $1.98 Beauty Pageant and 3's A Crowd. (Losing both times) For those shows I bleached my hair blond and gave myself a stage name...Christie Curtis...because I was crazy enough to think I would be "discovered." The 3's A Crowd episode just aired on the Game Show Network this week. It was fun because my husband's secretary and I get in a fight over whether my spaghetti is any good. When it origionally aired our picture was in the TV guide, the LA Times Newspaper and we were the on-air promo for the show. I have also done two other game shows. The Love Experts (another 70's syndicated show) This is my only win...a couch for having the best love problem. In 1988 I appeared on Blackout. At the time I was a housewife at home with four kids. My celeb partner was the ice skater Scott Hamilton. Wow. That was prize enough for me! Amazingly, for a few months after Blackout I was called to work as a professional contestant for game shows that were under development. I would make $15 to work for about an hour pretending to be a contestant while the shows were performed for network bigwigs, syndicated buyers, to audition hosts, or just to work out the bugs. I was only called about twice a week so this was more of a hobby than anything else. Unfortunately I moved 85 miles away from Hollywood in 1989 and have not done anything else. I think it's time to try to get on another game show! If you ever have the chance to try out for one - go for it. The entire process..auditioning, waiting to be called, showing up for taping with family and friends to cheer you on, watching it on TV, it is all such a high.
Val



Yes, it's true....I think it was in 75' or 76'"Brother Marc and Father Lindsay" Steve Martin was the culprit that GONGED us !!!! I've never forgave him either!!!(lol) One day I hope to have a video copy of that episode! We were good! or so I thought....! It was hilarious! And a lot of fun. We were actually up for worst act of the week , but lost to a man and his dog.....! I recieved a box of Pilot ball point pens, for all my efforts.... Chuck Barris was really a cool guy trying to get me to relax before the show!.... Long Live The Gong Show!!!!
Marc



Its been 20 years since that morning I appeared on the Gong Show back in 76. The judges were Soupie Sales, Jaye P. Morgan and Sarah Vaughn. What a time I had even though I didn't get a perfect score 22 or 23. The thrill of it was more fun than even had I won the top prize which was $516.32. I did win some tile though and it came in handy as I was just moving into my new home. I wish I could remember more, but it has been so long ago and the years have taken their toll so to speak on me! Anyway's, a great time and a great show !
Alex



A few of the San Diego Chargers Cheerleaders auditioned for the Gong Show and were selected to air. The staff was wonderful. They took us on a tour of the studio. They even sent us 8x10 glossies of our performance. Chuck Barris was the most hysterically funny person I have ever met in my life. During the day of taping, they have hundreds of acts in a huge room for basically the endurance of the day. They fed us, and made sure that all of the acts were comfortable. Out of all the things I have ever done in my life, being on the Gong Show has got to be the most memorable an fun. I still talk about it to people. I think it was 1978 when we were on. I actually saved the extra tickets I had, and they are proudly displayed in one of my photo albums.
Kyra



I was a contestant on the night time version of the show as a member of "The Brown Baggers",. We were working at the time as the band for Murray Langston, the "Unknown Comic", and decided to do the show to make some extra money. We had a great time, everyone who worked the show were really friendly. I remember some of the others got bored because they made you hang out in the green room the entire time from rehearsal till the taping, but I liked it. They had monitors set up and you watched everyone rehearse their acts. The camera men were cool. There was one act that was a Lady wearing a little nighty just talking to her husband, and at rehearsal the cameraman just kept panning up and down her legs really slowly. It was hysterical. We got all tens, and when we were loading our equipment Jaime Farr came out and I said "thanks for the ten". He said "I wish you could spendit". Everyone there was really nice like that. We worked with Murray for about six or seven years in the casinos and at colleges. It was a great life and he was a great guy to work with, really fun and cool. I couldn't do it now that I'm married and have kids, but it was an experience that I'm so glad I got to have.
Larry



The Worm originated one day when I called for an audition in late 77, I got through, the guy said what kind of act do you have? "Comedy" I said. He asked how many people? I said "3". He said, be here tomorrow at 4........Click........
Well I called 2 friends, and we came up with the lame 4 chord song, and long underwear, and had seizures on the ground. (We figured that I had to go down first, before the 30 seconds were up because we knew for sure we would be gonged.) Actually, we should have been gonged anyway.
Well, we went in for our audition, and in front of a camera at hole in the wall ex-restaurant, we tried to get through our act, but we didn't practice much, and as soon as I hit the ground, spazzing, we all started busting up. We didn't even finish our act. The camera man was laughing so hard we could see the camera shaking..........We thought we were done!!!!
We received a call 2 days later, that said to come down and do "The Worm in front of Chuck B. And they told us to practice........ We auditioned, and I remember smacking my head on the hard tile floor.......Well, we were called in just 3 days later to film the first show. It was my favorite of all of them. All the acts were hilarious. We knew we were going to get gonged. We were 18 years old at the time.......
The first show, we actually made it all the way and scored I think from memory (10 Jaye P. 10 Arte Johnson, and 8 from Mabel King). We lost, but we were called back for the night show a week later. Again we scored 28. Two 9's and a 10...I can't remember all the panelists. Anyway, we were called back 2 weeks later when we did 3 more tapings......Not rated.. One week later, 3 more tapings. It was great.
We were treated so well by the staff. I almost believed we actually had talent. Fan mail started rolling in from college fraternities all over the country. A few were saying how "Animal House" ripped us off with the Gator.... Honest to God.
As we were waiting back stage for the final 3 shows, at NBC, there were people taking tours, and some of them screamed out "The Worms", we felt like the Beatles for those few minutes. Even signed autographs.
We taped 2 Chuck Barris Rah Rah shows, and we were edited out of both. I think because we were on after Ray Charles on one show, and Mabel King after another. We had a blast hanging out with Johnny Paycheck, The Dirt Band, and other Gong acts. I wish they didn't edit us..
Finally we got called to do one last show, and that is the show where no body one the trophy. Some non rated acts, and the few who were gonged. I remember after Chuck said "We have no Winner" we all tried to grab the trophy, and you can here Gene Gene saying "Get off Chucks back, he injured it" . That was also a great show. ( That show will air on Dec. 18th I am told.)
Apparently, I called up the Game Show Network to find out if they knew when we would be on. They could only find 2 times. I missed the earlier one in Oct.
Ironically, about 10 years later, I received a call from "The New Gong Show" hosted by Don Blue. We actually won the trophy with a "21". We tied with a comedian called "Mr. Love". They gave us the trophy. Our all time lowest score was a "2" from the flash in the pan Stacey Q. We got a 10 from Wierd Al Yankovic, and a 9 from 2 Dodgers sharing the same seat. Stubbs, and Brian Holton. It was a really the 15 minutes of fame that lasted longer..........
If anyone has photos, or copies of any of the previous "Worm acts" we would love to get copies. I will make a copy of the upcoming show. Thanks Again for this web page.......Fun to look back
p.s.
We had a blast walking down the red carpet of the premeire of "The Gong Show Movie in our underwear.
Curt K.



In August of 1977, I auditioned for the "Gong Show". "I did not get gang gonged, instead I received 30 points, won $516.32, a Gong Trophy, and enough flavored Chap Stick to corner the camphor market for the next three generations". The judges were Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson, and J.P. Morgan. Although we weren't allowed to talk to the celebrities, J.P. gave me a OK sign from across the stage which was encouraging. It came down to the end of the Friday program (we had been there all day) and it ended in a three way tie. Each of us had received 30 points. After a commercial break, we went back live to the judges. They had all the act's names on cue cards and when they were ready to announce the tie breaker, they lowered the other cards and mine stayed up, so Chuck could announce I was the winner. What a hoot!!! I did a serious vocal/flamenco guitar rendition of "California Dreamin' ", and the show aired the first week of Sept. 1977. I've continued as a professional entertainer, traveling nationally and headlining on the comedy circuit in addition to my music concerts. I still use the fact that I was a winner on the Gong Show in my introduction and it continues to get a chuckle every night. Great experience!!! I'm currently living in Denver, have recorded five albums since my experience on the Gong Show, and my web site is Duncan Tuck.
Thanks for maintaining this Gong Show site.
Duncan Tuck (yes, that is my real name).



I was actually on the Gong Show in 1976 when I was 13 years old. I was supposed to go on with a friend; he was made up and dressed like a clown while I sang "Send in the Clowns". (How lame!) Anyways, they decided after three auditions just to put me on alone to make a fool of myself. Chuck announced me by saying that he wouldn't be surprised if I went far, but then again he wouldn't be surprised to see me wax a car with Vasoline. About 10-15 seconds after I started, I not only got GONGED, but I actually got GANG GONGED!!! J.P. Morgan, Arte Johnson and Scatman Cruthers. It was Arte who said he gonged me because, "He reminded me I had an appointment with the ear doctor." Then Chuck showed me the way off stage and exclaimed, "I like you, kid, but I also like cramps." That was my big hollywood shot. I did get 25 bucks worth of Whittman's Chocolates and was supposed to get 25 bucks of linoleum which never arrived. All in all, it was a fun time.
Lance



Back in 1978, when I was 19, two of my friends and I decided to audition for the Gong Show. Actually, it was more like a dare. Our act was The Strangers which consisted of us wearing ace bandages wrapped around our heads and me lip-syncing the song People Are Strange, by the Doors. When we went in for the audition, I had a tape with the song on it. The guys said I couldn't lip-synch, I had to sing! (Not a good thing!) So for our audition not only did I have to sing, but we couldn't use the tape so we had no music. We figured we blew it and off we went. A couple of weeks later we got a phone call saying they wanted us to come down and audition in front of Chuck. The audition was in the building where his offices were. They said we had to come in our costumes as there was no place to get ready in the building. When we got there, we had to park a couple of blocks away. We got ready in our van and proceeded to walk down the street, complete with ace bandages. The people on the street would not come near us! They were actually crossing the street to avoid walking past us. We walked in the building not realizing at first that the ground floor was a bank. That went over real well! We went to wait for the elevator and when it came there were a bunch of people waiting. No one would get in the elevator with us. We got called to do the show. The panel was Davey Lopes, Mabel King and Carl Ballentine. We had several friends in the audience and when these two guys started yelling "gong em" my sister was yelling "shut up!" Carl Ballentine gonged us at the last second. The whole experience was pretty funny. Sometime after that we were called to do a scene in The Gong Show Movie. Chuck is a very cool guy. He said if we ever saw him on the street to stop him and say we were on the show. We did run into him one day. He was on a balcony on the beach as we were skating by. We stopped and said hi and when we said we had been on the show, he came right down to see us. I got a big hug! My only regret is that we do not have a copy of the show.
Jan Brown



I won the Gong Show in 1977 (I think). I had read about the audtion in the LA Times and went down to an old, abandoned restaurant where hundreds of others were trying to get on. I was ushered in to perform for Chuck Barris. There was a piano player there. He asked if I had sheet music. I said no. He asked if I had an 8X10 BW photo. I said no. Barris said, "Oh go ahead and let him sing." I sang (acapella) some sappy love song that was really bad. (I had been singing in LA fairly successfully for a while). I think I was a little" out of it" that day, if you know what I mean! Anyway, the next day I got a call from a producer to my job at the LAX Sheraton Hotel, where I was a cashier. Barris told me: "If you want to sing in front of the band, I'll put you on a waiting list. If you can come up with a gimmick, you can go on this Friday. I like you!", he said. I told him I would call him back the next day. I talked it over with my friends that night, and decided that the Gong Show would not last long enough on the air for me to get to "sing straight" so I decided I would "sing in the shower." I told Barris this and he loved it. That weekend they brought up a shower stall from the NBC mens room and hooked it up with a garden hose. I was the last performer on my show. I do not recall ANYBODY being gonged that day, and I was sure it would be me. When I came out, they turned the COLD water on, and I showered (buck naked) and sang "Bad Bad LeRoy Brown". I GOT A PERFECT 30! Jaye P said " I didnt care for his singing, but I'll give him a 10 for what I saw in the shower!". My other judges were Artie Johnson and Jaime Farr. I still have my trophy, although the $606 check and the Turtle Wax products are long gone. Apparantly, I was a hit, becasue I later was invited to perform this same act with GARY OWENS on the night time show!
Chuck D'Imperio

 

 

We answered an ad in a newspaper, I think. We ended up at this old bar in Hollywood across from the Two Guys from Italy restaurant. We went in at our scheduled time and played for Chuck and a couple of other management types. They also had the band leader there to play piano with the acts if necessary. We got a very favorable audition and Chuck was especially interested in how Sherrill managed to play her 12-string. See, she was only 4 feet 9 and 3/4 inches tall (I'm 6'3") and she has very tiny hands. She couldn't play the normal way of wrapping your hand around the neck to fret the strings and had to lay the guitar down on her lap to press down on the strings, kind of like a dobro player would hold it. Anyway, we got to the studio and found out that it was more like a cattle call than anything else. They were taping five shows at a time and had all the acts for those shows, plus they had extras just in case. They put everyone in a big soundstage and left us there to get ready as best we could. My wife and I started warming up by doing a few songs (old Eagles tunes and stuff) and ended up with 20-30 people singing along with us. We had a great time, right up to when they told us we had to quiet down because we were bothering Johnny Carson and a taping of the Tonight Show!! Wow!! We bothered Johnny Carson!! Well, after that, the time went pretty slow until we were called. We went to make up and got the 10-minute gloss over. Then it was on to the show and we were moved on to the stage in front of the band. We performed a song called, "Lovers More Than Kind" that was written by me. Well, I can't take full credit. A lady I met at The Improv by the name of Patty Littlefield wrote the words and I wrote the music and the arrangement for the piece. We got a perfect 30 points (no other act got 30 on our show) and won the little trophy and a check for $516.32. On the whole we were treated very well and enjoyed our little 15 minutes of fame and glory!!

 

 


The judges were Paul Williams, Steve Garvey, and Jaye P. Morgan. I received 16 points, and was asked to stay and be the first "worst act of the week". I had been there all day and declined. so they gave it to some black guy who did a weird kind of preaching thing.  There was another guy who sat on a pillow and sang My Sweet Lord. I wore a feathered cape and sang A Chicken Song, which I had written a few days before.  I called them on a Tuesday and they had me come down on Thursday.  We taped the following Saturday. I remember having the biggest jam session I had ever been in. Probably fifty people. Chuck Barris came into the blue room and told us to keep quiet. Some of the most fun I ever had.                                 Peace,
                                     Anthony Albo

 


I was on the gong show in late 76 or early 77. I was 16 years old at the time. I did a BURPING ACT on the show. I told a story about how I started BURPING and how I got better as I got older. I demonstrated different types of BURPS such as long BURPS, talking BURPS and the famous Stereo BURP. I won the worst act of the week award and received $516.32 and a dirty sock (I never got the dirty sock). I also appeared on the nighttime show, a Gong Show special, the new Gong Show (which I never saw because it was preempted by some presidential debates) and the Extreme Gong Show, all doing my BURPING act. There was a Time Magazine article written in 76 or 77 about the Gong Show and the first lines in the story was about me. It went something like this..."I met a 16 year old burper prodded by his mother burp antidisestablishmentarianism" (not sure of the correct spelling of the previous word). I went on to do standup doing BURPING, it failed miserably, I went on to try my hand in stage and commercials and finally I found my niche.... I own a Singing Telegram company doing various characters such as Nerds, Sleazy lounge singers babies, Cupid and I have a thriving Santa Claus business. I also have produced 15 commercials and appears on many local TV shows as different characters. I have my own local cable called "Funny Farm TV". So from my meager start an a young teenage BURPER i have made a career out of making people laugh. Thank You Gong Show you showed me the road and I took it (even though I crashed several times along the way).
Alan Katz

 

 

 

 

Back in the 70's while trying to get my face in front of casting directors I appeared on the Gong Show.  I was friends with the manager of Murray Langston; The Unknown Comic (there's a distinction!) so I squeaked by without an audition.  I had no idea what I was going to do when I hit the stage.  I announced I wanted to discuss something serious and was met with instant "boo's!"   In frustration I tore off my jacket, pulled up my right sleeve and "played my arm."  The band misinterpreted my farting noises for "Turkey In The Straw" and proceeded to drown me out with their accompaniment.  The judges were J.P. Morgan, Linda Hopkins and Steve Garvey.  Seems they were contractually restrained from hitting the gong for 45 seconds.  It felt more like 5 seconds as the judges fought over the mallet but even that would have been too long for everyone involved.  Being "in the moment" when the gong rang I picked my coat off the floor and walked off the stage.  Chuck made some comment about me "not waiting around to see how I did" but I was half way home by then.  This humble beginning was to lead me to great success as a textile designer.  
Rob

 

 

 

I performed on an episode of "The Gong Show" which aired on December 1, 1977, where I tap danced to Mack the Knife with the Gong Show Band. The taping was in October or November, on a Sunday. They taped the whole week (5 days Mon-Fri) in one day. So you had to wait around backstage for the line-up and couldn't leave the studio. As it turns out I was on show #4 which would be a Thursday. That meant we had to sit through the Monday-Wednesday tapings. It was fun, watching a live taping (from backstage of course). Chuck introduced me thusly: "This next contestant used to work at a hospital where they performed kidney bean transplants, Ladies and gentlemen here comes . . . DARRRRRRR-LENE!" 
The end result was a 3-way tie between myself; a lady named Angela Terrigino, who sang "Birth of the Blues"; and a funny guy that did impressions and a hambone act. To everyone's surprise the hambone guy won. Hambone was even surprised he won. Angie was a bit angry about it. The Hambone guy told me I should have won! I laughed and said to him, "well, just give me the check then!" When we were leaving outside Burbank Studios, some of the audience driving off were yelling out their cars, "hey dancer! you should have won!" I was just happy to be on the show, where I made friends with a lot of the other contestants. And hey I got my 10's! The prizes I won were: a Norelco Coffee Brewer, Yardley Cologne (for men, no less) and a waffle iron. I even remember the judges and their responses. Louis Nye: "I felt some little body things happening to me" (10) Pat McCormick: "I'd like to see her tap dancer under water" (10) Jaye P. Morgan: "She's smooth . . . very smooth" (10). All the while Chuck is saying; "Hey Darlene, you got a 10!!! Then he continued, "Darlene just danced her way into stardom . . . and we didn't even know it!" Chuck Barris, was such a fun, zany guy. He even pinched me on my derriere during the judging and I thought "Oh my God! the whole world is gonna see this". But as it turns out during that moment the camera view was from the waist up, so you just hear me give a little nervous giggle during the pinch. I got to know Gene, Gene, the dancing machine. He was such a sweet guy. I was new to LA, having just moved out there in June '77, and he showed me around the town and we stayed in touch for a spell but years have passed and I haven't seen him since. It was much, much, much fun being a participant and a part of what I feel was a historical unforgettable show! I wish they'd have a reunion of former guests or some kind of tribute paid to Chuck and his show. It was a gas! I moved back home to N.Y. the next year (1978) and began a career in Lindy dancing with veterans from the Savoy Ballroom who taught and showcased us, and became a member of the Mama Lu Parks Jitterbuggers, and later was one of the Norma MIller Jazz Dancers. Norma has a book out now called "Swingin' at the Savoy" published in 1996 and it is an honor and a privilege to be included in the pictorials. Didn't mean to write a book, but anyway, I thank you for your time and the opportunity to reminisce about the ole "Gong Show" Days!

 

 

 

I did an act where I was a minister preaching to Old Mother Hubbard and at one point I got carried away and did a flip over the music stand that I was preaching behind.
 
I did the act for Chuck.  He liked it.  He had me on the show about four times before he plugged my act into a 'insert' spot so that I wouldn't be 'gonged!'  I was also on the Anniversary Show and in the Gong Show Movie.  This is the shortened version of my experiences with Chuck.  He was always nice to me and since I was union actor, I not only got sponsor prizes, I got paid and he flew me to California from New York on at least 3 occasions to do the show!
 
It was a fun time for me, even though jerks like Clifton Davis and Milton Berle gonged me!
 
Don Hepner